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The Observatory said some 1,300 civilians and fighters are expected to leave the besieged pocket and that the first group has already left the city and will be heading to northern Syria. He said "humanitarian cases" would be allowed to evacuate on Monday.

Geneva: The UN humanitarian adviser for Syria called on Wednesday for access to the eastern Ghouta town of Douma, where he said some 80,000-150,000 civilians were "on their knees" after years of siege and fighting. The rebels refused to say, however, whether they had surrendered.

The deal was struck after a series of talks that were held with Russian Federation, civic leaders and the militant group Jaish al-Islam.

Eastern Qalamoun is the last stronghold for the Faylaq Al Rahman and Jaish Al Islam rebel groups, after their evacuation from eastern Ghouta.

Four major rebel groups were now positioned inside Eastern Ghouta, namely the Islam Army, Failaq al-Rahman, Ahrar al-Sham, and the Levant Liberation Committee, known as the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front. -Gen. Yuri Yevtushenko, chief of the Russian center for reconciliation of the Syrian warring parties, said the fighters are to hand over maps of mined areas and underground tunnels while leaving Douma, as well as clear major transport routes of barricades.

"We hope that that agreement will lead to people being able to stay if they choose to, to get amnesty for those who put away their arms but also to an opportunity to leave for those who choose to leave Douma", he said. On Tuesday an opposition source said talks were continuing with Damascus, even as state media reported the departure of another group of fighters from eastern Ghouta.

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A convoy of vehicles carrying civilians from eastern Ghouta to Al Bab district are seen in Aleppo in Syria on April 03, 2018.

The Syrian government dispatched more than 50 buses to Douma to take the rebels out, SANA reported.

Last week, two rebel groups reached an evacuation deal with the Russian army, which resulted in about 19,000 people leaving for the northern province of Idlib.

At least 1,600 people have been killed following the launch of an aerial and ground offensive by Syrian forces and their ally, Russia, on February 18, to recapture what was once known as Damascus' breadbasket.

The group, which is estimated to have many thousands of fighters, has previously insisted it will not leave Douma or accept "forced displacement" to another part of Syria.


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